An association representing thousands of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers on Monday strongly opposed Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) — a private company tasked to create information technology (IT) infrastructure for GST — and composition of Revenue Secretary-led GST council secretariat.
The association of IRS (Customs and Central Excise) officers have sought the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's immediate intervention on these issues.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy has been opposing majority stake for private entities in GSTN and has already written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi objecting to this.
The government of India holds 24.5 per cent stake in GSTN while state governments together hold another 24.5 per cent. The balance 51 per cent equity is with non-government financial institutions, like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and LIC Housing Finance.
"Management of GSTN be entrusted to Directorate General, Systems of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), as GSTN is a newly created Special Purpose Vehicle, which does not have any experience in implementing any IT project or domain knowledge in Indirect Tax laws," the association said in a statement.
It said since GSTN is funded by the central and state governments, there is no justification in entrusting its management to private individuals with heavy salary and allowance.
"DG systems has experience of implementing mega pan-India IT projects for over twenty years and has the necessary domain knowledge and expertise to manage GSTN," said the body.
The cadre strength of IRS (Customs and Central Excise) is nearly 3,000.
Opposing the composition of the GST council secretariat, it demanded that the IRS officers be allowed to man it rather than those from Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
The Union Cabinet on Monday approved appointment of the Secretary (Revenue) as the ex-officio Secretary to the GST council and inclusion of the chairperson, CBEC, as a permanent invitee. Revenue Secretary has always been an IAS officer.
The Cabinet has also approved creation of one post of Additional Secretary and four posts of Commissioner in the secretariat. The council will decide on the tax rate, exempted goods and the threshold.